FEDERAL agencies that target illegal maritime activity on the Australian coast recently put their skills to the test with Operation Resolute, a training project in north-west Western Australia.

The two-week training activity was run by Maritime Border Command using assets from the Australian Border Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and Army (the Pilbara Regiment), with support from the Department of Home Affairs, Australian Federal Police and Western Australian Police.

The activity ran for two weeks, primarily focusing on the Exmouth-Coral Bay area and adjacent western shipping routes.

Soldiers from The Pilbara Regiment deployed from regional towns to help in the surveillance effort.

Overt operational activities included a beach landing of a Regional Force Surveillance Group patrol aboard an LCM-8 landing craft at Norwegian Bay, 60km north of Coral Bay.

The landing represented the first operational use of small commercial off-the-shelf unmanned aircraft systems by the RFSG, with imagery of areas of interest captured remotely by operators in a concealed location.

The Variant 2 vessel Kimberley Coast from ABF Regional Command WA ensured ABF officers provided maritime law enforcement throughout the operation.


Air surveillance support was provided by a RAAF P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

Commander MBC Rear Admiral Lee Goddard said the deployment showed whole-of-government commitment to detect and deter criminal activity along Australia’s coast.

“These activities are part of our enduring surveillance and response program. Criminals and other threat actors are adept at identifying and exploiting weaknesses in maritime borders and national boundaries for their own nefarious ends,” Rear Admiral Goddard said.

“But the combined efforts of MBC and partner agencies are equal to the task through our surveillance, patrol and response capabilities, combating illegal activity and threats to Australia’s border,” he said.

“Whether it be the movement of illicit drugs, illegal maritime arrivals or illegal foreign fishing, MBC is committed to protecting Australia’s maritime environment and defending our borders.”